Eurilla Josephine Kasmeyer Kendig was born to Eurilla Greenhalgh Kasmeyer and Henry Conrad Kasmeyer at home in St Johns. She joined her older brother Alfred. She remembered an idyllic life in the community that was St Johns before the war where her parents had a variety store on Jersey street. They built and raised their family in the English cottage at the corner of Buchannan and Ivanhoe.
Jo remembered Sunday drives with the family and baseball games with her Dad. She was very close to her father and he was likely behind the decision to give in to her love of horses and start her in riding lessons at Columbia Riding Academy.
Her life forever changed with the death of her father when she was 12. However, she did her best to help her mother in the store and went on to graduate from Roosevelt High School. She joined her brother at the University of Oregon and became an Alpha Phi and served as house president her senior year. Jo was voted the honor of having the “best legs in sorority” but she qualified the distinction by stating that it was during a Summer term and it was during the war so the pool of candidates was smaller.
She hoped to become a nurse but her mother decided that she should help her brother begin his dental practice. The new green convertible she received from her mother may have been used as an incentive. Mom always loved cars and particularly convertibles. Jo worked for other dentists in the Portland area in addition to her brother and Dr. Paul Johnson in Goose Hollow. She made a reluctant visit to the dentist better for many patients because they were always happy to see Jo.
Jo continued to ride all her life. In college, she grew her love of horses to a passion for Arabians. The family doctor had an Arabian horse farm on Sauvie Island and he needed Jo’s talent and beauty to set off his horses to perfection. At 85 when Jo’s daughter Julie wanted to get another horse for her newfound interest in Dressage, she did not rest until she settled the purchase of an Arabian closely related to two she herself had owned. Jo celebrated the deal with a flight of Reisling at the nearest winery.
It was through Dr. Palmer and horses that Jo met her husband, Richard Kendig. They married in November 1952. They were joined by their son Garth in September 1954 and they moved to Hillsboro in 1956 so they could have horses on their own property.
Jo and Dick’s daughter Julie joined the family in 1960. Though she shared proximity and interests with her daughter Julie, it was Garth who was the apple of her eye. She enjoyed trips with him and was so proud of his accomplishments.
In 1994, Jo and Dick moved to Battle Ground with Julie and her husband Patrick. This allowed Jo to retire at 70, grow roses and play with her horses and dogs. As his health failed, Jo cared for Dick until he died in 2008.
Primarily from the generosity of Patrick, Jo was privileged to travel to England nine times with her daughter Julie. Jo thought of England as her true home and was happiest when she was there. She must have made an impression on England as well because she was remembered at prestigious hotels, stores and restaurants. Her impeccable dress, beautiful blue eyes and constant smile must have made them remember her. In her last days, she enjoyed looking through the pictures and books from her travels.
Jo was the fun Mom whom everyone loved. Her life was not easy but she worked hard and always made the best of it. Jo was a voracious reader, intellige
nt and loved to laugh. Jo said she had a great life and was very grateful.
She will be at rest next to her father at Riverview Abbey, but a portion of her remains will be distributed by her son at the Oregon coast she loved and another portion in England by her daughter.
In addition to her husband, Jo was predeceased by her brother, Alfred. Jo is survived by her son Garth, daughter Julie, son-in-law Patrick and sister-in-law Mavis Kasmeyer as well as nieces and nephews.
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